Karakoram Highway blocked for third day as heavy rains lash GB, KP

Published February 20, 2024
This combination of photos shows blockade of two different points of the KKH due to landslides. — Photo provided by author
This combination of photos shows blockade of two different points of the KKH due to landslides. — Photo provided by author

Thousands of passengers travelling to and from Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were stranded on the Karakoram Highway (KKH) on Tuesday as landslides triggered by heavy rains blocked the main artery at multiple points.

Intermittent rain and snowfall have disrupted life in the region for the past three days. As temperatures dropped below zero, electricity remained suspended in several areas.

According to National Highway Authority (NHA) Deputy Director Ghulam Abbas, the KKH was blocked at approximately 50 different points.

These points, he elaborated, included Shetan Pari (at KKH number 241), Lotar (327), Hurban Nullah (362), Thor Nullah (391), Pani Baa (319 and 320) and parts of GB’s Diamer.

“We have enlisted the assistance of our contractor companies for road clearance, as the blockade was extensive and occurred at numerous points. But, we are confident that it will be accessible to all types of vehicular traffic by Wednesday morning,” the official said.

Abbas added that clearance teams from Bisham, Pattan, Barseen, and Chilas were actively working on clearing the roads, adding that the passage had been opened to accommodate one-way traffic in some areas.

Meanwhile, link roads in KP’s Shangla, Kohistan, and Battagram were also blocked due to heavy showers. Several vehicles were also damaged in landslides.

Irfan Sakhi — a passenger stranded at a hotel in Bisham — told Dawn.com that he was expecting the roads to be cleared soon. Despite the inconvenience, Sakhi lauded the cooperation extended by local hotel and restaurant owners.

Earlier, officials reported that rain in lower areas and snowfall in upper areas began on Monday morning and continued until evening. Flights between Islam­abad, Skardu and Gilgit were also suspended while mobile and internet connectivity were disrupted in many areas of the region.

After prolonged dry weather conditions, GB has started receiving snowfall and rain. As per an alert issued by the GB government, heavy rainfall and snow were predicted in the region from Feb 19 to 27.

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